Friday, July 29, 2016

Review: Dog Man

Dog Man 
Author: Dav Pilkey 
Series: Dog Man, Book 1 
Release date: GRAPHIX/Scholastic

George and Harold have created a new hero who digs into deception, claws after crooks, and rolls over robbers. When Greg the police dog and his cop companion are injured on the job, a life-saving surgery changes the course of history, and Dog Man is born. With the head of a dog and the body of a human, this heroic hound has a real nose for justice. But can he resist the call of the wild to answer the call of duty? (Summary from 

This was an exciting but funny comic. It showed lots of character and it had lots of detail. There are sad parts, funny parts, and lots of exaggeration. This book is one of my favorites.

This book is very enthusiastic. I have tried Captain Underpants, which is by the same author, but it wasn't for me. This book was completely different. I recommend this book to all ages. 

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Mini-review: The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B

The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B 
Author: Teresa Toten
Release date: March 10, 2015
Published by: Delacorte Books for Young Readers 
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Adam Spencer Ross is almost fifteen, and he's got his hands full confronting the problems that come with having divorced parents and new step-siblings. Add to tat this obsessive-compulsive disorder and it's just about impossible for him to imagine he meets Robyn Plummer: he is hopelessly, desperately draw to her. But is it possible to have a normal relationship when your life is anything but?(Summary from

This was a beautiful story. Adam burrowed his way into my heart, and I don't want to let him go. He is funny and a great friend and a wonderful son and brother. Even as he himself struggles to cope with his OCD which causes him to doubt himself, he is always present for those he values and loves. He wants to be the hero of the story.

As I read my heart ached, my stomach tied into knots, and my arms wanted to give him a hug. I read it late into the night because I wanted to see if Adam could get ahold of his demons and be the hero he needed to be for himself. And let me tell you, it was worth it!

Toten fills the pages with moments of joy, laughter, and pain. She hooked me from page one as she describes Adam's reaction to the girl he sees for the first time in the circle at Group: "By the time he exhaled, the boy was in love. It was like he had drowned in a wave of want."

Trust me, you want to read this book.

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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday #234 - Gemini, Enter Title Here, Bronze Key & Graces

"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. Be sure to post a link to your Waiting on Wednesday below!

This week's pre-publication "We can't wait to read it!" selections are more then usual! Holy moly have I been busy with Summer School Library being open this summer the entire time and last week with the Green County Fair running last week which I had to be at supporting my kiddos...AND it was 100+ degrees here = exhaustion! That means some of these are already out, and some are coming out very soon. Oh well. I still wanted you to know about these great books we can't wait for! Happy Reading!

Author: Sonya Mukherjee 
Release Date: July 26, 2016 
Published by: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers 

Seventeen-year-old conjoined twins Clara and Hailey have lived in the same small town their entire lives--no one stares at them anymore. But there are cracks in their quiet existence, and they're slowly becoming more apparent. Clara and Hailey are at a crossroads. Clara wants to stay close to home, avoid all attention, and study the night sky. Hailey wants to travel the world, learn from great artists, and dance with mysterious boys. As high school graduation approaches, each twin must untangle her dreams from her sister's, and figure out what it means to be her own person. (Summary from Goodreads)

Yes! A sister story. I love those, and this one has the unique element of sisters who are conjoined twins. I can't wait to read about how they grow together and apart.

Author: Rahul Kanakia 
Release Date: August 2, 2016
Published by: Disney-Hyperion

I'm your protagonist - Reshma Kapoor - and if you have the free time to read this book, then you're probably nothing like me.

Reshma is a college counselor's dream. She's the top-ranked senior at her ultra-competitive Silicon Valley High School, with a spotless academic record and a long roster of extracurriculars. But there are plenty of perfect students in the country, and if Reshma wants to get into Stanford, and into med school after that, she needs the hook to beat them all.

What's a habitual over-achiever to do? Land herself a literary agent, or course. Which is exactly what Reshma does after agent Linda Montrose spots an article she wrote for Huffington Post. Linda wants to represent Reshma, and, with her new agent's help scoring a book deal, Reshma knows she'll finally have a the key to Stanford.

But she's convinced no one would want to read a novel about a study machine like her. To make herself a more relatable protagonist, she must start doing all the regular American girl stuff she normally ignores. For starters, she has to make a friend, then get a boyfriend. And she's already planned the perfect ending: after struggling for three hundred pages with her own perfectionism, Reshma will learn that meaningful relationships can be more important tan success--a character arc librarians and critics alike will enjoy.

Of course, even with a mastermind like Reshma in charge, things can't always go as planned. And when the valedictorian spot begins to slip from her grasp, she'll have to decide just how far she'll go for that satisfying ending. (Note: It's pretty far.) (Summary from Goodreads)

This sounds like the type of protagonist I will enjoy: the crazy overachiever who learns something about herself--I love that it's through writing a book of her own. Yay!

Author: Holly Black and Cassandra Clare 
Release Date: August 30, 2016 
Published by: Scholastic 

Magic can save you.
Magic can kill you.

Students at the Magisterium are supposed to be safe. Under the watchful eyes of the mages, they are taught to use magic to bring order to a chaotic world.

But how the chaos is fighting back. Call, Tamara, and Aaron should be worrying about things like pop quizzes and magic contests. Instead, after the shocking death of one of their classmates, they must track down a sinister killer...and risk their own lives in the process.

As Call, Tamara, and Aaron discover, magic can only be as good as the person who wields it. In evil hands, it has the capacity to do immeasurable harm, unless it is stopped in time. (Summary from Goodreads)

I LOVE this series like I LOVE Harry Potter. There's something about these books that makes me feel the same way that I did reading HP, but these are so much shorter which is nice too. If you haven't tried this series yet, DO!

(The Graces, Book 1)
Author: Laure Eve 
Release Date: September 6, 2016 
Published by: Amulet Books 

In The Graces, the first rule of witchcraft states that if you want something badly enough, you can get matter who has to pay.

Everyone loves the Graces. Fenrin, Thalia, and Summer Grace are captivating, wealthy, and glamorous. They've managed to cast a spell over not just the high school but also their entire town--and they're rumored to have powerful connections all over the world. If you're not in love with one of them, you want to be them. Especially River: the loner, new girl at school. She's different from her peers, who both revere and fear the Grace family. She wants to be Grace more then anything. And what the Graces don't know is that River's presence in town is no accident. (Summary from Goodreads)

Doesn't this sound fantastic!? I get the creeps every time I read that last sentence! Can't wait to try it! 

What are you waiting on this week?

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Mini-review: Love, Lucy

Love, Lucy 
Author: April Lindner
Release date: January 27, 2015 
Published by: Poppy
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

While backpacking through Florence, Italy, during the summer before she heads off to college, Lucy Sommersworth finds herself falling in love with the culture, the architecture, the food...and Jesse Palladino, a handsome street musician. After a whilrlwind romance, Lucy returns home, determined to move on from her "vacation flirtation." But just because summer is over doesn't mean Lucy and Jesse have to be, does it? (Summary from 

This story was okay. I enjoyed elements of it, like Lucy's references to Roman Holiday throughout her trip in Italy. However, I struggled to connect to Lucy once she left Italy and returned home. I found myself being annoyed with her internal thinking rather than supporting her. So overall, an okay read with some funny and cute parts, and maybe I just wasn't in the mood for a love triangle scenario.

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Monday, July 18, 2016

Mini-review: Since You've Been Gone

Since You've Been Gone 
Author: Morgan Matson
Release date: May 6, 2014 
Published by: Simon & Schuster 
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It was Sloane who yanked Emily out of her shell ad made life 100% interesting. But right before what should have been the most epic summer, Sloane just...disappears. All she leaves behind is a to-do list. 

On it, thirteen Sloane-inspired tasks that Emily would normally never try. But what if they could bring her best friend back?

Apple picking at night? Ok, easy enough.
Dance until dawn? Sure. Why not?
Kiss a stranger? Um...

Emily now has this unexpected summer, and the help of Frank Porter (totally unexpected), to check things off Sloane's list. Who knows what she'll find?

Go skinny-dipping? Wait...what? (Summary from

Have you ever just wanted to hug a book when you finished? I don't want to let this one go. It is about friendship, or rather the loss of a friendship, but more than that it's about a journey of self-discovery. Who do you become when you lose the person who has helped define you? How do you navigate a world that seems so different when you're in it alone? That's what Emily has to figure out for herself, and she has one beautiful journey that is well worth the read!

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Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday #233 - A World Without You and The Thousandth Floor

"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. Be sure to post a link to your Waiting on Wednesday below!

This week's pre-publication "We can't wait to read it!" selections are...

Author: Beth Revis 
Release Date: July 19, 2016 
Published by: Razorbill 

Seveteen-year-old Bo has always had delusions that he can travel through time. When he was ten, Bo claimed to have witnessed the Titanic hit an iceberg, and at fifteen, he found himself on a Civil War battlefield, horrified by the bodies surrounding him. So when his concerned parents send him to a school for troubled youth, Bo assumes he knows the truth: that he's actually attending Berkshire Academy, a school for kids who, like Bo, have "superpowers."

At Berkshire, Bo falls in love with Sofia, a quiet girl with a tragic past and the superpower of invisibility. Sofia helps Bo open up in a way he never has before. In turn, Bo provides comfort to Sofia, who lost her mother and two sisters at a very young age.

But even the strength of their love isn't enough to help Sofia escape her deep depression. After she commits suicide, Bo is convinced that she's not actually dead. He believes that she's stuck somewhere in time - that he somehow left her in the past, and now it's his job to save her.  (Summary from Goodreads)

Bo's ability to go into or see the past makes the tragic love story even more interesting.

Author: Katharine McGee 
Release Date: August 30, 2016 
Published by: HarperCollins 

New York City as you've never seen it before. A thousand-story tower stretching into the sky. A glittering vision of the future, where anything is possible--if you want it enough.

Welcome to Manhattan, 2118.

A hundred years in the future, New York is a city of innovation and dreams. But people never change: everyone here wants something...and everyone has something to lose.

Leda Cole's flawless exterior belies a secret addiction--to a drug she ever should have tried and a boy she never should have touched.

Eris Dodd-Radson's beautiful, carefree life falls to pieces when a heartbreaking betrayal tears her family apart.

Rylin Myers's job on one of the highest floors sweeps her into a world-and a romance-she never imagined...but will her new life cost Rylin her old one?

Watt Bakradi is a tech genius with a secret: he knows everything about everyone. But when he's hired to spy by an upper-floor girl, he finds himself caught up in a complicated web of lies.

And living above everyone else on the thousandth floor is Avery Fuller, the girl genetically designed to be perfect. The girl who seems to have it all--yet is tormented by the one thing she can never have. (Summary from Goodreads)

This sounds SO good! What a different world she's created. I can't wait to try my ARC I got at BEA16. 

What are you waiting on this week?

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday #232 - Wicked Boy and The Gilded Cage

"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. Be sure to post a link to your Waiting on Wednesday below!

This week's pre-publication "We can't wait to read it!" selections are...

Author: Kate Summerscale 
Release Date: July 12, 2016 
Published by: Penguin Press 

In the summer of 1895, Robert Coombes (age 13) and his brother Nattie (age 12) were seen spending lavishly around the docklands of East London -- for ten days in July, they ate out at coffee houses and took trips to the seaside and the theater. The boys told neighbors they had been left home alone while their mother visited family in Liverpool, but their aunt was suspicious. When she eventually forced the brothers to open the house to her, she found the badly decomposed body of their mother in a bedroom upstairs. Robert and Nattie were arrested for matricide and sent for trial at the Old Bailey.

Robert confessed to having stabbed his mother, but his lawyers argued that he was insane. Nattie struck a plea and gave evidence against his brother. The court heard testimony about Robert's severe headaches, his fascination with violent criminals and his passion for 'penny dreadfuls', the pulp fiction of the day. He seemed to feel no remorse for what he had done, and neither the prosecution nor the defense could find a motive for the murder. The judge sentenced the thirteen-year-old to detention in Broadmoor, the most infamous criminal lunatic asylum in the land. Yet Broadmoor turned out to be the beginning of a new life for Robert -- one that would have profoundly shocked anyone who thought they understood the Wicked Boy.

At a time of great tumult and uncertainty, Robert Coombes's case crystallized contemporary anxieties about the education of the working classes, the dangers of pulp fiction, and evolving theories of criminality, childhood, and insanity. With riveting detail and rich atmosphere, Kate Summerscale recreates this terrible crime and its aftermath, uncovering an extraordinary story of man's capacity to overcome the past. (Summary from Goodreads)

I'm not a big non-fiction reader; however, the synopsis pulled me in. It sounds like Summerscale may construct it as more of a researched story which always makes non-fiction enjoyable for me. I think it could make a great addition to my classroom shelves. I cant wait to find out!

Author: Lucinda Gray 
Release Date: August 2, 2016 
Published by: Henry Holt and Co. 

After growing up on a farm in Virginia, Walthingham Hall in England seems like another world to sixteen-year-old Katherine Randolph. Her new life, filled with the splendor of upper-class England in the 1820s, is shattered when her brother mysteriously drowns. Katherine is expected to observe the mourning customs and get on with her life, but she can't accept that her brother's death was an accident.

A bitter poacher prowls the estate, and strange visitors threaten the occupants of the house. There's a rumor, too, that a wild animal stalks the woods of Walthingham. Can Katherine retain her sanity long enough to find out the truth? Or will her brother's killer claim her life, too? (Summary from Goodreads)

This sounds so much like the Houdini and Doyle show I've been watching! I think I'll really like this one. Mystery = fantastic drama. 

What are you waiting on this week?

Friday, July 1, 2016

Review: Stalking Jack the Ripper

Stalking Jack the Ripper 
Author: Kerri Maniscalco
Series: Untitled Trilogy, Book 1
Release date: September 20, 2016
Published by: Jimmy Patterson/Little, Brown
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Audrey Rose is the daughter of Lord Wadsworth. She lives a life of privilege and certain societal expectations including dressing a certain way, behaving a certain way, and so much more living in London. So Audrey does what she has to and lives a life of secrets to be able to do what she loves: forensic science, especially conducting autopsies on dead bodies under the tutelage of her uncle who is a known expert on the edge of what is known about this subject at the time. To make life even more dramatic, there is a killer on the loose in London who is terrorizing the city and its occupants. Soon the killer is even writing them letters and taunting them about their inability to catch him, signing them "Jack the Ripper". Will Audrey and her uncle be able to figure out who the killer is in time? Or will the killer just keep killing only to slip into the night and never be found?

My thoughts: This was an interesting twist on the mysterious Jack the Ripper case which has never been solved. I was excited to try this first book under the imprint of Jimmy Patterson. There were definitely thrills and chills in this one throughout the whole book. This was a very decent first novel by Kerri Maniscalco. I was hoping for more somehow, but this was a decent start for sure. Looking forward to more. 

The character of Audrey Rose was one that not only had a broken family, which was kept secret, but also one who was secretly engaged in activities that were not groovy with the rest of society. She was very predictable as a character in her role of a young lady of high society who is kept innocent and breaks free in her own way but is still very naive about so much. I kept hoping I would like her more but it just didn't happen. 

The secondary characters were all rather cookie-cutter in that they were all following the same recipe for their parts as so many stories do: the crazy uncle; the drug-addicted aristocrat; the handsome young man; etc. I kept hoping for things to get better, or to gain more depth but it just didn't happen. 

The part of this book that appealed to me most was the forensic and criminal science which was a large part of the story. I love shows like Rizzoli and Isles, Bones and Rosewood that delve into both the science and the intrigue of homicides in society. This book's story hooked me because of my love for those topics. My issue was with the characters and how extremely predictable they were along with most of the storyline also being incredibly predictable. Some people really like that, but I'm just not one of those people. 

Final thoughts: I will certainly be reading the rest of this series because I do love these topics so much, but it wasn't a wow for me. 

Read-alikes: These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly. That book was amazing! The Forbidden Orchid by Sharon Biggs Waller. No homicide, but intrigue and girl power abound! 
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